Her feet were hurting, her thighs were burning, but she pushed on.
Twelve hours they had been running and Rage didn’t look like he was going to stop. He didn’t look effected at all.
It made her wonder how long he had been running. Why had he left his pack? His brothers?
Abruptly he stopped, lifting his nose into the air, sniffing for a few moments before turning to her.
He moved over to her, sniffing low as he grew closer. Willow’s stomach clenched. She had no idea what he was doing, and it made her nervous.
She lifted her chin as he moved his lowered head down to her front paws, the air from each sniff, rustling the fur there.
He growled softly in irritation before stepping back and taking in their location. Willow looked down at her paws, realizing then that they were raw and bleeding, she had no idea how she had not noticed it until now.
A soft growl came from Rage, drawing her attention to him; he moved his head to the side before moving in a different direction than they were headed. She followed him silently, trying to ignore the pain in her feet that seemed to have worsened now that she noticed the bleeding.
He led her to the edge of another small human town. She wanted to cry as she realized that they were stopping. Her chest swelled at his kindness.
Eyes on her, he lowered his head, pointing his snout at the ground with a tough nod. When she sat down and he was content that she would stay put, he moved towards a large tree, flanked by overgrown bushes, not too far from them.
She watched his predatory stride as he moved through the woods. There was no doubt that he was powerful, dangerous. The large, black wolf was covered in many scars and no doubt had killed just as many.
Willow waited patiently as he shifted, his body lifting into a stance as he slipped into his clothes.
The bushes covered him below the waist, but left his upper half exposed to her. Each of his scars seemed deep, each white puckered skin that left his tan skin shocking against them. Each one held a story, a fight, probably a death, and she wanted to know each one, she wanted to touch each one.
She watched the way his muscles flex as he pulled his pants on, it was hypnotizing the way he moved, each ripple of bulging muscle called to her on a pure animalistic level. His body pulling at parts of her: desires from her that she had never felt before.
She tore her eyes from him as he raised his head and slipped on his shirt, effectively blocking his body from her view.
She could feel his eyes on her now, as he moved, barefoot, towards her. Refusing to meet his eyes, she was glad that she could not blush in wolf form, because her face would be as red as a tomato.
She stared at his feet as he stopped and set his duffle at his feet before placing her clothes and shoes onto the ground in front of her.
She didn’t move for a minute as his kindness brought forth a wave of cravings for him. She knew he could smell it, and waited, unmoving until she was sure she had calmed herself down. She tried to ignore the deep breaths coming from him, the deep smell of his lust urging her forward, away from him. She knew if she stayed there, she would do something she didn’t want to do.
Though she knew she wanted him, to give herself to him, she didn’t want it to be because her hormones sparked his instinct, she wanted it to be because he wanted her.
She slipped behind the bushes he had shifted behind, shifting as quickly as she could. Squatting she slipped the shift over her head before standing. She turned her back, not wanting to look at him as she pulled her pants on, trying to ignore the pain and blood her hands brought with the movement.
She held her shoes between two fingers as she moved back to him. She didn’t want anything pushing on her swollen feet, the ground was bad enough, and the shoes would not help.
She stared at the ground as she walked, noting that he had put on black leather boots on while she was changing. She focused on that as she stopped before him. The stared at the warn leather, no longer smooth in some places.
“Do you need help with them?” his voice was soft, tugging at her heart, trying to fight the feelings the kindness brought forth in her.
“No,” she answered shaking her head, “they will just make the pain worse,” he nodded his head as her eyes lifted to his face, his gold eyes holding a knowing look.
She jumped slightly as his callused fingers brushed her raw ones, softly slipping the shoes from her grasp and moving to place them into the bag.
He didn’t say a word as he started towards the motel, but she knew he was slowing his pace so she could keep up and not be left behind.
She stood quietly behind him in the motel office, the man at the desk eyeing her, taking in her wild hair and injuries. She ignored him, focused on Rage. He took a wallet from his duffle bag, pulling a black and silver credit card from the warn leather and handing it to the man, who eyed me once more before turning back to Rage.
“How one or two beds?” her asked. Rage shrugged in annoyance and the man’s eyes moved to Willow, seeming now to direct the question to her.
“Two,” she said, forcing my voice to be louder then she was use to so that the human could hear me across the room. The man only nodded, typing a way at a computer for a second before running the black card along with a key on a wooden keying containing the Name of the motel.
When he handed the card back to Rage he gave them each a tight smile, his judgmental eyes taking Willow in and then Rage once more. Rage let out a huff of annoyance before stalking out of the office, moving swiftly through the lot, Willow slowly trailing behind him.
He dropped his bag by the door, heading directly for the bathroom, not waiting for her; he turned the faucet on, the water running softly into the sink.
She eyed the beds, wondering which he would want. Not knowing she stood near the door, waiting to see what was going to happen next.
Rage exited the bathroom, a washcloth in one hand and nodded in the direction of the chairs near the door, “Sit,” was all he said and she obeyed, knowing deep down she would do anything this male said.
Her breath caught as he moved the other chair in front of her, taking her he hand into his, softly placing the warm cloth onto her blistered and bleeding palm. Slowly he moved the cloth, whipping from wrist to fingertips, cleaning away the dirt, cleaning her. He was cleaning her.
Her heart clenched at this wolf cleaning her, caring for her. She tried to push the thoughts that swarmed her mind. Thoughts of wolf instinct: wolves do clean each other, not unless they are family or mates. She and Rage were neither.
She watched as he stood, returning to the bathroom before cleaning her other hand with the rinsed out rag. She sat quietly, fighting her instincts as he moved to her feet. He was gentle, kind, making sure to not hurt her, making sure the washcloth was clan and warm for each one.
When he was done he helped her stand, motioning to the bed farthest from them.
“I’ll take the bed closest to the door,” her breath caught again as her instinct spiked at the idea of him protecting her, guarding her.
She took a deep breath, forcing the emotions down as he moved back to the bathroom, this time shutting the door behind him.
She mentally scolded herself. She needed to stop. He wasn’t her mate; she doubted he was even viewing her as a potential one. He was just helping her and she was letting her instincts freak out at his kindness.
Curling up under the bedding, she listened to the shower start and him getting in. The sound of the water like a lullaby, calming her, like the rainy nights always did.
On the verge of sleep, she heard the bathroom door open, smelled the scent of him, her instincts wanting her to call out to him, ask him to lay with her, wanting his comfort as well as his kindness. She forced herself to bite her tongue. Squeezing her eyes shut, cutting herself off from viewing him as he moved to the other bed.
“Why?” the question slipped from her sleepy mouth, unable to grasp what she was really asking him, she just wanted to know why.
“Because you bleeding would have drawn the pack to us,” her stomach dropped as she realized exactly what she was trying to tell herself all along, he was doing all of this out of kindness, out of pity, he didn’t really care about her, not her, but only her as a person, as an abused female that needed help, nothing more.
That forced her into silence, she would try harder to suppress her instincts, try not to be drawn to him, he was nothing to her, and wanted to be nothing to her.